When I take a stroll back to yesterday, the Easter memories are always the same ... We woke up to learn the Easter Bunny had made a stop at our house. We hunted for our treasures; had a breakfast of hard-boiled eggs; and then quickly got dressed in our new shoes and clothes (complete with hats and gloves) for Easter services.
After church, we celebrated the day with an Easter dinner and all the fixings, which usually included the basics — a ham, some potatoes, a vegetable, a Jell-O salad and rolls. I don’t remember many desserts, since the sweet contents of the Easter baskets were already getting lots of attention. Sometimes extended family members joined us; sometimes they didn’t. Either way, dinner was always served around Grandma’s big dining room table. The centerpiece on the table was a bowl filled with more Easter eggs and candy — presumably treats the Easter Bunny had left for the adult members of the household.
The afternoon was spent playing outside with our Easter surprises, which usually consisted of jump ropes, jacks, paddle balls, bubbles and other inexpensive treats. Often it was the first time of the season when we’d get our bikes out of their winter slumber, pump up the tires, and take them on an outing. It wouldn’t have been unusual for a baseball or kickball game to get started in the barnyard either. Throughout the day, we’d revisit our Easter basket many times, snatching a jelly bean, a gumball, a marshmallow egg or one of the coveted pieces of chocolate.
By the end of the day, we were exhausted. Besides playing outside nearly all day long and clearly eating more sugar than was ever intended, we’d climb into bed with visions of the Easter Bunny waving good-bye until next year.
That was it. Of course, that is the cliff note version of a Simon family Easter, but from my youthful perspective, those were the high points. It was the same thing every year. From my earliest memories on ... Easter happened just that way. There were no changes. Right down to the orange Jell-O salad with the marshmallows and the red, rubber ball that inevitably detached itself from the rubberband on the paddle ball ... yes, you could count on what Easter would hold at our house.
When I got to be a little bit older — maybe 10 or 12 years old, I used to get frustrated with the same old Easter year after year. I wanted some diversity. I needed a change. After all, all my friends were doing exciting things for their Easter break, like taking a family vacation, visiting their grandparents in a different state, going to Chicago, etc. But no ... my Easter wasn’t going to be that exciting. I was going to be home on the farm, eating Jell-O with little marshmallows and wishing for some excitement.
I remember verbalizing that wish to my grandmother one year. Complaining, feeling a bit sorry for myself, I told her I wished that our Easter could be different. To this day, I’ll never forget what she told me.
Quickly, quietly, she responded by saying, “Someday, you’ll wish you had all this back.”
Well, my friends, that day has come.
What I wouldn’t give to look around that dining room table and see all the faces that once used to sit there ... What I wouldn’t give to while away the afternoon with my entire family ... What I wouldn’t give to have a carefree youthful attitude ...What I wouldn’t give to have that traditional Easter from yesteryear ...
Tomorrow, Sunday, is Easter, and I hope your holiday traditions continue. In this day and age, it’s so easy to let them slip away, but once they do, they never return. Create some memories. Cherish the moments. Have a wonderful Easter ... one you can return to year after year.
BCR Editor Terri Simon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bcrnews.tsimon. Portions of this column were previously published.